Translating difficulties with educational systems
Thread poster: jmd1983

Local time: 06:49
English to Dutch
+ ...
May 24, 2004

As I was trying a sample translation from English to Dutch I came across some problems. I am relatively new to the translating business so I do apologise in advance for asking stupid questions.

I was translating part of a brochure for an English private school. How do you translate Year 9, GCSE, A levels and other similar terms? The Dutch system is so different. Even the grading (we use a scale of 1-10)! How do I translate grades? Can anyone give me some advice?


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Post May 24, 2004

Post it in the Kudoz questions (ask question) and I'm sure you will get much help.

Educational systems and equivalents vary quite a bit from country to country, that is one thing we quickly learn.


Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:49
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
First of all, welcome! May 24, 2004

Sometimes there are no equivalents. Therefore, in those cases, you could leave the English term and explain it in Dutch.

These links may help:

But do follow Henry's piece of advice as well!

Good luck!


German to English
you've already got some good advice May 24, 2004

I'd just like to add, as someone said above, that there are often no "real" translations for diplomas/school systems etc. Case in point, in Los Angeles there's a company specializing in "officially" comparing a degree from a given US university or high school with one of a foreign university or high school etc.


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Who is going to be reading the text? May 24, 2004

I think that the decision of how much to 'adapt' an educational system depends on who is going to be reading your text, and what the purpose of the text is. If, for example, the point is to explain the British system then obviously you don't use Dutch equivalents.

Another approach is to work from the general to the particular; most educational systemas have three tiers - first level, second level and third level (and post-graduate)- and the age ranges are very similiar in most EU countries - 3/4/5-12, 12-18, 18-21/22. You can work around that and choose transparent language, as a sort of intermediate solution. E.G, in Spain they have a two-tiered secondary system, which is called ESO and BUP (these terms are in fact no longer used, but I forget the new ones!) but basically the only difference is that the former can be classified as 'mandatory secondary education' and the latter as 'non-mandatory ....'.

In your case, a brochure for a school, it seems logical to retain the English terms (so the parents and kids know what A level is when it has to be sat!), yet the reader is going to be a Dutch concerned parent (or pupil) who will want to be able to compare to the system they are familiar with. So it looks like you wiull have to explain a lot, maybe even consider an introductory or final note to summarise the system, if you think glosses are going to clutter the text.


[Edited at 2004-05-24 18:47]


Local time: 06:49
English to Dutch
+ ...
Thank you all very much for your help. May 24, 2004

I still find it difficult to translate these terms or figure out how to explain them. This is a sample translation of only a few lines and I wouldn't feel comfortable sending them back a translation of a few pagesicon_smile.gif

I think I need more practice before accepting a job. I will keep trying!



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Translating difficulties with educational systems

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